Common Misconceptions About Homicide Cases

By Brock Benjamin
Founding Attorney

Homicide cases don’t always result in the dynamic, outrageous trials that you see portrayed in crime dramas and movies. Homicide cases can be slow, methodical, and complex. In most cases, they are nothing like what you see in popular media, which has created misconceptions and misunderstandings about homicide cases and the overall criminal justice process. 

At The Benjamin Law Firm, our criminal defense team wants to help Texans understand the criminal justice process in the Lone Star State. That means busting popular misconceptions about homicide cases. 

What Is Homicide?

It is not a secret that Texas takes a tough stance on homicide. Texas defines homicide as an intentional, reckless, or negligent act that causes the death of another individual. The term “homicide” can encompass murder, capital murder, manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide. Other common misconceptions about Texas homicide cases include: 

All Homicide Cases are the Same 

Not all homicide cases are the same, and not all homicide cases carry the same potential penalties. Capital murder is a significantly different offense than manslaughter. Homicide cases vary based on the circumstances of the event, the evidence available, and the legal strategy a defense attorney can apply to the case. Homicide cases are highly fact-specific. You cannot understand the situation you are facing accurately without the help of an experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorney. 

All Homicide Cases are Murder Cases 

There are various degrees and classifications of homicide, including murder, manslaughter, and justifiable homicide. Each classification carries different legal implications and requirements to secure a conviction.

All Homicide Cases Go to Trial

Unlike popular media portrayals, not all homicide cases go to trial. Some cases are resolved through plea bargains, where the accused agrees to plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for a reduced sentence. Plea deals can be a strategic decision based on the strength of the evidence and the potential risks associated with going to trial.

You Always Need to Prove Motive

Many people think that it is necessary to establish “why” a death occurred. While motive can help establish an individual’s intentions, the prosecution does not always have to prove motive to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 

You Can’t Try a Homicide Case with Circumstantial Evidence

Cases can be based on circumstantial evidence, eyewitness testimony, or forensic evidence. It is a common misconception that the prosecution cannot move forward with a strong case without hard and fast forensic evidence or eyewitness testimony. However, cases can be built entirely on circumstantial evidence and have a reasonable chance of securing a conviction, especially if the accused does not have an aggressive criminal defense team.

Forensic Evidence Is Infallible

While forensic evidence such as DNA, fingerprints, and ballistics analysis get touted as the “gold standards” of criminal homicide cases, test results are not always infallible. Errors and contamination can occur during forensic evidence collection, analysis, and interpretation, leading to unreliable results and potential wrongful convictions. 

Media Portrayals Reflect Reality 

Media coverage of homicide cases often sensationalizes or oversimplifies complex legal proceedings. It’s essential to recognize that media reports may not always provide an accurate or complete picture of a case’s facts and legal issues. What you see on television or the news does not always accurately reflect the behind-the-scenes work and investigation it takes to compile a criminal defense strategy in homicide cases. 

Recent Homicide Case Results

The firm recently tried a different homicide where the passenger of a vehicle, not the driver was charged with homicide. The theory of the State was that the passenger had encouraged and directed the driver to ram the car. A jury decided otherwise. 

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Team Immediately 

Homicide cases are among the most complex legal proceedings in the criminal justice system. They are fact-specific, highly complicated, and labor-intensive. At The Benjamin Law Firm, we know what’s at stake: your life and freedom. 

If you face homicide charges, contact an experienced and aggressive defense attorney to help you navigate the legal process. At The Benjamin Law Firm, we are ready to help.

About the Author
Brock Benjamin is board-certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  His practice is primarily state and federal criminal law and appeals.Brock 

Posted in: Criminal Defense